Held during of the World Art Dubai at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 3rd to 6th April 2019, the ‘Art Gap’ exhibition aims to add local voices to the global conversation. According to the 2017 Gender Bias in Art study, titled "Is gender in the eye of the beholder?" and published by University of Oxford: art work by women sells for 47.6% less than work by men. Even where art work was produced through artificial intelligence, respondents consistently ranked works they believe to have been made by female artists lower
The event will be an ideal platform for women artists in the UAE, to come together and make a powerful statement by painting 47.6% less. The first-ever exhibition will feature the works of a collective of Emirati and expat women artists who will highlight the shocking gender pay disparity in the art world.
In the UAE, women enjoy the same constitutional rights as men. According to World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2017 (PDF), the UAE ranks the second highest among Arab countries. The UAE also established the Gender Balance Council to enhance work environment by giving women equal opportunities in the public sector. Towards that end, the UAE launched the Gender Inequality Index for Government sector. The council would enact a framework to consolidate the efforts of various government entities. It aims to boost the country's efforts to evolve and enhance women's role as key partners in building the future of the nation.
Rola Abu Manneh, CEO Standard Chartered UAE said: “At Standard Chartered we are passionate about promoting equality and committed to driving an inclusive and diverse culture at work. The “Art Gap” exhibition is a great initiative to highlight such an important topic; gender pay inequality. We want others to get inspired by this event and to support the drive for change not only in the world of art or banking but in all industries. I encourage you all to join us and support the cause.”
“Organising this event reaffirms the Bank’s commitment to the national agenda, which aims to make the UAE one of the world's top 25 countries for gender equality by 2021” she added.
As part of its wider commitment to bridge the global gender pay gap, Standard Chartered signed the Fair Pay Charter in 2017 and announced its pledge to pay men and women equally for the same role. This is in line with the UAE’s vision to advance gender balance. In April 2018, the UAE Cabinet has approved the issuance of the Law on Equal Wages and Salaries for Men and Women to ensure that women have equal opportunities as partners in the UAE’s development.
“The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world. Let’s give this hand the value it deserves. World Art Dubai and Standard Chartered have come together to honour women who add beauty to the world through their art and I am happy to lend my voice and be part of this movement that respects each artist without any gender discrimination,” said Batool Jafri, Curator of Art Gap and Emirates Woman of the Year 2018.
One of the co-authors of the study on gender bias in art, Renée B. Adams, Professor of Finance, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford said: “Everyone is talking about diversity nowadays. But, the result of the talking is mostly just that—talk. To bring about real change, we need to act. The Art Gap exhibition presented by Standard Chartered is a cutting-edge way of leveraging scientific research to bring about change. Nobody who participates or views the exhibit will forget the message. And the next time they buy an artwork, they will approach it differently.”
* According to Gender Bias in Art study, "Is gender in the eye of the beholder?", University of Oxford, Dec 2017).( https://ssrn.com/abstract=3083500 ).
The study authored by Renée Adams, Roman Kräussl, Marco Navone and Patrick Verwijmeren can be downloaded here
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